#SOAAfterDark: Within Reach [NSFW]

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“Without saying a word he told her how much he missed her, I was just there to bear witness. His fingers did a dance inside me making my tight hole open up more for him. I caressed the back of his head as he continued to speak to my body in a way that only my soul could understand.”

Within Reach #SOAAfterDark

29.

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I’m always for celebrations, until it comes to my birthday. It’s so weird. I’m an event planner by occupation and though I love experiences, when it comes to the experience of my own celebration…I really could not be bothered.

Shawntel Asemota

There’s too much anxiety associated with trying to get all your friends and family together to celebrate you. Maybe it’s because I believe too much that people don’t care enough or that I lack faith in people’s commitment to me as their friend. I don’t know.

My last birthday celebration was at 28. I hated it. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do and constantly changed my mind. When I finally made the decision to do something, I cried on my way to the celebration. I wasn’t feeling my birthday at all. I wasn’t feeling getting older at all and it has everything to do with the fear of the unknown. I can honestly say that I could see my life clearly up until the age of maybe 25. I knew that I was going to go to college. I had no doubt that I would graduate with honors. I knew that whatever I chose to do; whether join the work force or start my own business or find a place nice enough to settle at for a while, I would be okay and it would be my decision.

My life plans changed. Though I found a job right out of college, it just wasn’t for me. Months after graduating, I got into an accident with an 18 wheeler and not only lived to tell about it, but honestly can only credit God with the fact that I am still here. Every year I get older, it’s a nod to that night I shouldn’t have come home.

I turned 29 on the 8th of February and I am nowhere near clear on what direction to go. If anything, I often feel directionless and lost. Though I have an idea of the definites in my life, I have no idea how I plan to prepare for the next decade of my life. I welcomed 29 with a shrug…you can’t stop getting older. You can’t stop the inevitable all you can do is live life and hope it keeps you fulfilled.

Instead of celebrating my birthday with fanfare and cake and gifts and parties with friends, I worked. I finished up tasks and tied up loose ends. I cleared as much off my plate as absolutely possible so that going forward I could finally have the clarity that I was seeking.

And that’s what I want for 29.

If I spent the majority of my 20s trying to follow this plan I thought I had for my life just to cry about it on my 28th birthday, I want to spend the remainder of this 20th age of life clearing my plate and making a way for the next decade. I want to spend it reflecting on the good, learning from the bad, hopeful for the future and happy for the unknown instead of cringing from it.

I know 30 has it’s own adventures: mortgage, kids, family, business growth and you know what? I’m excited for it. I don’t want to spend another birthday sad because it’s not what I expected. I want to celebrate the fact that I’ve been allowed another year to try out this thing called life. It doesn’t always have to be with a bunch of fanfare, but it will always be with gratitude because at the end of the day, that’s all the Universe want’s from us anyway.

So here’s to 29. May it bring me hope, focus, clarity, more happiness, opportunity, continued love, and support and relinquish the fear of the unknown and the need for control.

I welcome you 30, let’s do this.

 

Inspired Adventures: DC Chillin + My 5 quick tips to travel like a local

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[I love this city…but I probably wouldn’t want to drive here…]

Not too long ago, I took a little excursion to visit some friends in DC. Twice, I’ve missed out on the opportunity to visit this place and both times I was upset that I couldn’t go! So when the invitation presented itself again, I made sure to plan and prepare.

Plane tickets can be REALLY expensive, especially when your budget is super tight. Sure you can wait for the “glitch” deals, call a buddy, or save up, but sometimes it really just doesn’t work out that way, things come up and opportunities pass. I’ve been hearing about Megabus for a while and just never took it. I took this opportunity to get my own experience of it AND save a pretty penny.

The registration process was simple, I’m pretty sure I purchased my seats via my phone, but I need them to redesign their website…it’s low-key boring.

How I got there

I purchased my seats, front row center, about a month in advance. I budgeted not more than $50 for these tickets and was surprised with I came out $1 under. If you despise road trips or get motion sickness, this is not the mode of transport for you. It was a long trip, about 12 hours to be exact, but it was exactly what I needed to allow my mind to roam and my thoughts to clear so I can focus on something else for a change.

The rocking of the bus put me to sleep when I needed the rest and served as a type of cyclorama of the purple mountain majesty of the Appalachian mountains and the golden waves of maze through-out Virginia. I enjoyed it. It was like a mini-trip in a trip and was definitely appreciated.

What to do there

Although I really wanted to see all the historic monuments of the National Mall, I liked being able to see the real DC:

The congested streets; 50 million stop lights; crazy intersections; beautiful brown stones; re-development projects; layers and layers of history, legacy, and American heritage; and all the things that makes you appreciate the DMV- Tri-cities.

Pretending to be a local, I learned my way around and how to use the public transportation. Atlanta fails at this concept. All these opportunities for better transportation in the city that hosts “the world’s largest international airport and transportation hub” and we can’t get something as simple as public transportation right…but I digress.

I learned my way around with the Metro, Circulator, and city transit and strolled through Columbia Heights. I admired the beauty of Union Station with all of it’s Grecian architecture and history.

I faced my fear by going to King’s Dominion which is an hour drive outside of downtown DC and located in Virginia.

Nope! #notSoaApproved (with @seane87 @shanikameshae) #SoaInspiredAdventures

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Nope. Still not ready to conquer it yet.

This was more my speed…

Spinning while my hands up 🙌. cc: @seane87 #SoaInspiredAdventures

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Historical Journey

DC Chillin-quote-SOAinspired

DC is an OLD CITY. And like old cities, it’s rich in history. You have the one side where a land was developed under by our forefathers and set in ink some 200 years ago. But then you have the flourishing black history there. As I walked around Columbia Heights and basked in the richness of Howard University, I couldn’t help but be proud of the things we’ve done and the people and movements we’ve cultivated. I finally got to meet my Delta college roommates Lady Fortitude and saw the beautiful centennial glass of my assistants sorority. I paid homage to the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma as they had recently added a new plot on campus. My friend that I stayed with took me on a journey through their college experience. And I stared in awe at the clock tower. It was amazing.

Brunch hard!

I’ve noticed that people LOVE to brunch. And when they brunch, they brunch hard! To celebrate my friend’s birthday weekend extravaganza, we went to a really dope restaurant named Local 16, where for about $23 you can get truly unlimited mimosas or bellinis and enjoy delicious strawberry french toast and a plate of bacon. Our table of about 20 had so many drinks we had to start turning down mimosas in favor of water. We bathed in the sun and brunched to our heart’s content. It was delicious, but I wish they had chicken or turkey sausage!

Planting Seeds

My DC trip was really exciting and exactly what I needed at the time. I got to hang out with some of my many friends who live there, explore the city and all of its character and gave room for the opportunity to come back. Some of the best travel experiences I’ve had are the ones that make me feel like I live there. It’s like this trip allowed me to plant some seeds to spread my roots. It’s a beautiful thing to become a local in a new city where you can appreciate its quirks…like I did with finding the beauty in DC.

5 quick tips on How to Travel Like a Local

Exchange hotel for hospitality – do Airbnb or stay with someone you know

Stick to public transportation or Uber your way around

Save the tourist hotspots for another day

Walk to soak in the city

Stay in town or where the culture happens

I had a great time in beautiful DC. There’s sooooooo much more that I want to share, but I’m a writer by nature so…just check out My Story on Google+ below:

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Out on the Town: #PXPFest brought me home (#growingupforeign)

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I am Jamafrimerican…

My mother is Jamaican and my father is Nigerian. My Step father and baby brother  are of Sierra Leone descent. My other brother and I are truly first American born citizens. While everyone is talking about what it was like to #growupblack, I’m sitting here thinking about what it was like to #growupforeign. More on that later.

Every celebration required plenty of Guinness and or Heineken and the music will literally have you dancing the night away. Where gospel songs had the same beat as the ratchet songs, but it was often hard to differentiate the two while dancing. My mom’s wedding reception lasted over 12 hours. Foreigners know how to party!

Trying to explain to Hubby my deeply rooted love for this music can only be explained through dance.

This past weekend, I got the chance to enjoy a cultural experience that took me back to my youth with house parties filled with the thumping beats of Afro-Caribbean music.

The Passport Experience:

Created by renowned DJ Fully Focus, PXPFest aims to unite music lovers from all cultural backgrounds in a way that hasn’t been done in Atlanta, a city whose boasts the 11th highest foreign-born population in the country at nearly 725,000.What makes PXP Fest unique is that everyone belongs here, and we’re all equal,” says Fully Focus. “We celebrate diversity & cultural pride. Nowhere else can you get all your favorite genres on one stage. It’s been tailored for the open-minded music fan. It’s a place where you can bring your diverse circle of friends & family and there’s something for everyone. It’s the only place where you get to travel the world without a visa & the only limitation is your imagination.”

What’s particularly special is it’s philanthopic initiative:

PXPFest is also offering attendees the opportunity to make a lasting difference through their participation in the event: a portion of each ticket sold will contribute to Akon Lighting Africa, the Konvict Music boss’ solar power initiative working to bring electricity to 25 countries by 2016.

The Experience:

So we get to the gates of Centennial and you can feel the chill international vibes. Music is BLASTING. I would say I feel sorry for the businesses and residences within a 5 mile radius of Centennial, but I don’t. #sorrynotsorry

This experience was RIGHT on time! It’s like the world needs a MASSIVE BLUNT and they got it in Atlanta. Really wish everyone would just chill the f-ck out! You’d have to truly be a hater to not enjoy yourself here.

It was everything I could ask for, and yes I’m biased to a series of things, but it really was a unique music and cultural experience that united music lovers from all cultural backgrounds in a way that hasn’t been done in Atlanta

So here are my actual reactions:

Wait! Did it go from Mama Africa. Whisp around for some Bollywood. Side track to the Netherlands and Amsterdam. Take you to New York and then bring it home to Atlanta? Bitch Am I On Vacation?

Eat. Pray. Twerk.

I can’t make my hips stop moving!

And what’s funny is that a vacation is right around the corner. So this festival is kind of like the pre-game. Think about how hardworking the people are. They slave away all day dreaming of an escape to paradise trying to make ends meet just to find glory.

This experience reminded me of a vacation, but at home because BILLS and the Just Over Broke. All my favorite music made me feel like I was at a family function, shout out to my Afro-Caribbeans. It was bliss.

It truly was like being in paradise…if only for a day.

Special shout out to…

The team behind the scenes at Passport Experience ATL for putting together this experience, The Remedy LLC for the invite  and their sponsors Akon Lighting Africa.

Make sure to check out a few photos below and see more on whycauseican.com.

Out on the Town: F1rst Take #FordATL

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By now you should know I am a sucker for an amazing and memorable experience.

On Friday, July 17, I had the pleasure of enjoying date night with Hubby a little bit differently than we normally do. Normally, if we’re want to just chill and relax we may go for a drive around the city and bring it home to some Netflix and take out. This particular night we decided to enjoy a little cultivated experience with Ford being our maestro.

FordATL

The Experience:

You “valet” your car and a Ford vehicle picks you up or you can test drive one that takes you to a secret location. We were chaffeured in a 2014 Expedition XL 😍

So you arrive at the location, greeted by two women dressed in red candy girl outfits complete with hats and enter a room with a candy bar and popcorn and really good nostalgic dance music…pretty much any music that’s played at a family reunion or a 25 and up club.

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Several bars line the walls. DJ and MC on the stage. Two aerialists dangle from the ceiling. There isn’t a photobooth, instead, you get to create a flipbook, something like a gif in real form, complete with props.

There are passed hor d’oeuvres and the whole vibe is good and lively. Then a Ford chauffeurs you back to your vehicle.

My Reaction:

This event was excellent. Really fun and a different experience.

Kudos to Ford for this event and special shout out to the folks behind the scenes for bringing it together, especially I’na Saulsberry of The Starfire Group.

Favorite Part:

Sealed with a kiss. #fordatl #AdventuresattheWhiteHouse @whycauseican ❤

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Check out photos from the event below and visit www.whycauseican.com for even more!

With Love, Soa

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Things left unsaid.

I don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the motivation for this note.

You died tragically not too long ago and immediately I was inundated with grief. It’s so weird. You and I were super cool. We hung out and talked frequently, then all of a sudden we just kind of stopped talking like our vibe just disconnected. Outside of the obligatory social media correspondence, and obligatory ‘happy birthday (if i remembered to check facebook that day),’ we hadn’t had a meaningful conversation in a long while. I even unfollowed you on some pages because I just kinda got tired of seeing you on my newsfeed. I needed something fresh.

But when the news came in that you had fallen off a boat and drowned only to have your body found more than a day later, I was speechless. I was…I was ANGRY!

I was in the middle of a conversation, holding my god daughter and couldn’t speak for a good 5 minutes.

It brought thoughts of all the things left unsaid between us. And I was JUST thinking about you too. I said to myself that I was going to reach out to you, but constantly forgot.

Smh.

A part of me is still grieving.

I’m still grieving, but maybe this note will quell my constant thoughts of death and the meaning of life and how cyclical it all is. One life ending, another just getting started.

Now I think about all the things left unsaid with everyone I used to be close to! But still think about. Would I want to die or be stricken by the death of someone I love or used to love and feel guilt for having never told them things on my heart?

So here goes, this is to you:

I hate how it all ended. It left me slapped with the taste still in my mouth. I was blindsided. I was stuck with the belief that you’d always be there, just a mere phone call away. It left me mourning your loss.

How do you go from being a staple in someone’s life to fading away like a stranger? How do you go from caring for a person to caring less about them? How do you go from loving someone to loathing them. Hating them so much that you can’t bare to look at even a picture of them? Maybe you don’t hate them, but seeing them brings to mind too many memories too fast — ranging from the birth to the death of that relationship.

It’s just too sad sometimes.

It’s disappointing.

I force myself to hate you because I love you too much. I ignore you because it’s easier. The memories of what once was is too hard to bear and you simply just faded away.

I care for you and have love for you and smile at the memories we once shared, you know, because it was deeper than that. Maybe our season HAS ended. I firmly believe that if you’re gone from my life, then it is God’s will. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see each other again some day.

But for now, it’s time for us to say goodbye.

So, goodbye old friend. I wish you well.

I forgive you and wish you success on all of your endeavors and beyond. I’ll never forget what you meant to me and for that I thank you.

I wish you love and happiness.

I love you.

I wish you peace.

With Love,

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P.S. God IS the funniest comedian.

To Jeneé. RIP.

Inspired Thoughts: What Drives You?

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What drives you?

What is the mantra by which you live your day-to-day life? What is it that pushes you to do one last thing on your daily to do list? What opportunities are you being open for? What strides are you making to accomplish your goals? What history are you making?

It’s been a minute since I last wrote here…over two months to be exact. And it’s not necessarily that I haven’t had anything to write about or that my life has been boring, quite the opposite actually.

I’ve accomplished more in the last two months personally and professional than some years combined. (more to blog soon)

Since February 14th, I’ve got an apprentice. She doubles as my assistant, but feels like a baby step sister…. I’ve managed a major and historical event in Alabama, experienced SxSW, and took my company bi-coastal to Hollywood. I’ve met civil rights leaders, been in the same room with a president, and partied with rappers, not to mention the extremely inspiring and motivating people who I’ve come across.

soainspired

Before this year came in, I set my intention to earn my success abundantly and have the energy, focus, insight, support, and assistance to receive it. I was driven by the need to grow my business and experience growth in myself. I want to look back a year from now and know without a doubt that all the seeds I planted, all the plants I watered, all the prayers I’ve prayed and all the relationships I cultivated moved me even closer to my overall goals. That they returned back to me bountifully.

What’s been driving me? The opportunity to receive bigger and better opportunities that will not only help me but will help all the people in my life. What drives me is being able to truly hire my apprentice and to pick up the check at dinner and to pay all my bills with more than plenty left over…to be able to take an amazing adventure with my husband and not worry about being able to afford it. What drives me is to be able to tell my mom she doesn’t have to work every day if she doesn’t want to. I’m driven by being a blessing to others and inspiring them to bless others.

What drives you?

Your answer to that will determine your future.

What drives you-soa-quote